Darpana Academy of Performing Arts

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Darpana Academy of Performing Arts
Formation 1949
Founder Mrinalini Sarabhai
Vikram Sarabhai
Purpose Dance school for Indian classical dance, theatre, puppetry
Coordinates 23°02′51″N 72°34′22″E / 23.04750°N 72.57278°E / 23.04750; 72.57278Coordinates: 23°02′51″N 72°34′22″E / 23.04750°N 72.57278°E / 23.04750; 72.57278
Mallika Sarabhai
Website darpana.com

Darpana Academy of Performing Arts is a school for performing arts in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, established by Mrinalini Sarabhai and Vikram Sarabhai in 1949,[1][2] it has been directed by their daughter Mallika Sarabhai for the last three decades.[3] The school organises a three-day Interart, the "Vikram Sarabhai International Arts Festival" at Ahmedabad, every year.[4] It celebrated its golden jubilee on December 28, 1998, with the announcement of the annual "Mrinalini Sarabhai Award for Classical Excellence", in the field of classical dance.[5]


The Darpana Academy of Performing Arts was founded in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Vikram Sarabhai and his wife Mrinalini Sarabhai.[6][7][8]


The academy offers courses in Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam, Indian Classical Vocal, Mridangam, Violin and Flute, puppetry and martial art Kalaripayattu. Its departments range from performance and teaching of the arts, to the use of performance and arts as development communication, through face-to-face impact and software production.

The Drama Section, under acting duo Kailash Pandya and Damini Mehta, is responsible for more than 100 productions of a wide variety.

Darpana attracted young writers and staged their first scripts, making them an integral part of production efforts. Some of the names can be mentioned as Madhu Rye, Labhshankar Thakar, Shrikant Shah, Subhash Shah, Chinu Modi, and Hasmukh Baradi. It also conducted theatre-training courses for over two decades. The Academy also offers Artist Residency programs under the aegis of UNESCO.[9]

Its research wing, Janvak, published monographs like Goverdhan Panchal's on Bhavai. Darpana has also built an experimental thrust auditorium, Natrani, reminiscent of Greek amphitheatres, on the banks of the river Sabarmati.

List of Kathakali artists and musicians who worked in Darpana since 1949[edit]

  • Guru Vazhenkada Kunchu Nair,
  • Kavungal Shankarankutty Panicker,
  • Guru Kottakkal Gopi Nair,
  • Kottakkal Appu Nair,
  • V.P. Ramakrishnan,
  • Chandramana Govindan Namboodiri,
  • Mankombu Sivashankara Pillai,
  • Kalamandalam Govindan Kutty,
  • Kalamandalam Murali,
  • Kalamandalam Gopinath,
  • Kavungal Chathunni Panicker,
  • Kalamandalam Ravindra Warrior,
  • Kalamandalam Madhavan,
  • Kalamandalam Bhaskara Menon,
  • Thakazhi Kuttan Pillai,
  • Kalamandalam Unnikrishna Kurup,
  • Kalamandalam Subrahmanian,
  • Kalamandalam Sukumaran,
  • Kalamandalam Haridas,
  • Kottakkal Narayanan Namboodiri,
  • Kavungal Gopala Panicker,
  • Kavungal Krishna Panicker,
  • Kalamandalam Narayanan,
  • Kalamandalam Ananda Narayanan,
  • Kalamandalam Sasi Poduval,
  • Kalamandalam Balaraman,
  • Kalamandalam Anandan,
  • Thichur Vasu Variar,
  • V.P. Shankara Narayanan,
  • Kalamandalam Shivaraman Nair,
  • Kalamandalam Devaki,
  • Kalamandalam Sitalakshmi,
  • Painkulam Narayana Chakkyar,
  • Kalamandalam Hariharan,
  • Kalamandalam Kalyanikutti Amma,
  • Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair[10]


  1. ^ Epskamp, C. P.; Kees Epskamp (2006). Theatre for development: an introduction to context, applications and training. Zed Books. p. 52. ISBN 1-84277-733-5. 
  2. ^ Suprita Mitter (August 28, 2015). "A movement called dance". Mid Day. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  3. ^ Manali Shah (Aug 28, 2015). "10 years later, Mallika Sarabhai back with Sita's Daughters". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  4. ^ "Bid goodbye to 2007 on a cultural note!". Indian Express. Dec 27, 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-01-13. 
  5. ^ "Tradition takes over". Indian Express. December 26, 1998. Retrieved 20 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Darpana Academy Official Blog". 
  7. ^ G. S. Paul (October 29, 2015). "In conversation with danseuse Mallika Sarabhai". The Hindu. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  8. ^ Urmimala Sarkar Munsi; Stephanie Burridge (2012). Traversing Tradition: Celebrating Dance in India. Routledge. pp. 272–. ISBN 978-1-136-70379-9. 
  9. ^ "India - Darpana Academy of Performing Arts". UNESCO. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  10. ^ Kottakkal, Sasidharan Nair. "Biography of Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair". Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair Biography. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 

External links[edit]